NAPLES, Fla. - The holidays are a time for families to come together and celebrate. But for households prone to domestic violence, the added stress can lead to an increase in incidents. Wink News spoke to the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples who say there are ways you can help the victims of domestic abuse celebrate the season.
Wink News was on-site Wednesday as volunteers carried bags filled with gifts inside the shelter to ensure victims of domestic violence have a Christmas this year.
"Linens, feminine products, old cell phones we can give out to the residents to use as 911 cell phones," said Rebecca Thompson with the shelter.
The shelter sent out its Holiday Wish List and hopes residents will help victims by supporting its Spirit of Giving Trees and their Adopt-a-Family initiatives.
"The need is higher as far as the holiday donations now but all year round we need donations of that type," Thompson said.
According to national reports, the number of domestic violence related incidents are expected to increase by 10% between Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.
"Certain stresses do contribute at least to an escalation. They certainly don't create domestic violence but it can contribute to them escalating," said Shelter Executive Director Linda Oberhaus.
Many safe homes actually see a decrease in their in-shelter populations as families desperately try to keep the peace. "Usually, just before the census will go down some and then we see a rise after the holidays in January.
There's a fair amount of victims wanting to keep to the peace anyway. I think they do an especially good job of that during the holidays and I think they do it for the children," Oberhaus said.
For those who have no where else to go and will spend the holidays inside the shelter these secret Santas are keeping Christmas alive, one gift at a time.
"We try to make it as festive as possible for all the families that live here and receive services," said Thompson.
If you need help, you can call the confidential crisis hotline. It's available 24 hours a day:239-775-1101.
Click here to see the shelter's 2013 holiday wishlist.